Fiscal Policy

After a stellar start, Japan's 'Abenomics' faces dim future

After a stellar start, Japan's 'Abenomics' faces dim future

In the six months since Shinzo Abe emerged as the likely winner of last December's election, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index has soared by 74 per cent, easily beating the rest of the world's major markets.

Friday, 17 May, 2013, 4:06am

Hong Kong looks abroad to tackle burden of ageing society

Hong Kong is looking overseas for inspiration on how to cope with the long-term financial burden of its rapidly ageing population. Photo: Sam Tsang

Hong Kong is looking overseas for inspiration on how to cope with the long-term financial burden of its rapidly ageing population. In his budget plan last month, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah set up a working group of treasury officials and experts to make public finance projections for the coming decades.

11 Mar 2013 - 11:03am

At last Tsang accepts that our fiscal policy needs an overhaul

At last Tsang accepts that our fiscal policy needs an overhaul

At least some of the criticism directed at John Tsang Chun-wah recently must have stung. In his budget speech yesterday, the financial secretary attempted to defend his piecemeal approach to fiscal policy while simultaneously promising to set up a working group to formulate "more comprehensive planning for our public finances".

28 Feb 2013 - 5:02am 1 comment

Japan trade deficit widens on weaker yen

A weaker yen means Japan has to pay more for imports, which rose 7.3 per cent last month. Exports grew 6.4 per cent. Photo: Bloomberg

Japan's trade deficit swelled to a record 1.63 trillion yen (HK$135 billion) on energy imports and a weaker yen, highlighting one cost of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policies that are driving down the currency.

21 Feb 2013 - 6:07am

Hong Kong should revamp muddled fiscal structure

John Tsang Chun-wah, Financial Secretary. Photo: May Tse

The huge budget surpluses that Hong Kong regularly clocks up are a wonder to governments elsewhere. While they struggle to balance their books, our coffers are positively bulging, and increasingly so each year. Such abundance is a welcome cushion for an economy so exposed to outside market forces. But the way it is generated, the manner in which it is managed and how it is dispersed are an embarrassment and a shame. A financial system that is strait-jacketing our future has to be reformed.

14 Feb 2013 - 1:30am

Can Japan direct downward march of yen without triggering a currency war?

The real questions are what instrument the Bank of Japan can use to control the level of the yen and what happens next if the inflation target is achieved. Photo: Bloomberg

When Shinzo Abe became prime minister of Japan late last year, he promised to deliver change. Shortly after, he announced a 10.3 trillion yen (HK$877 billion) stimulus package to end deflation and pressured the Bank of Japan to adopt a 2 per cent inflation target.

2 Feb 2013 - 5:25am

Growth must replace public stimulus, Shinzo Abe says

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Photo: EPA

For the past four years, the majority of money spent by the government has been raised by selling bonds. Abe announced the shift in a policy speech on the same day that an opinion poll showed a boost in his popularity since he came to power last month.


29 Jan 2013 - 6:21am

Let's not pay an even bigger price for political failure

The Bank of Japan has so far dragged its feet on stimulus.

Growth in the world economy subsided in 2012. The expansion since 2009 has been a bitter disappointment because much of the slack created by the recession remains. With so much idle capacity, a chance exists for robust growth next year, but only if governments raise their game.

28 Dec 2012 - 4:14am

Beijing vows to cut taxes, limit local borrowing

The Ministry of Finance pledged to offer greater support to job-creating small companies through tax and fee cuts, to regulate local government borrowings and to maintain a reasonable size of central government investment in infrastructure next year.

8 May 2015 - 9:46am

Economist warns of dangerous asset bubble on mainland

China economist Wu Jinglian. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Economist Wu Jinglian, one of the mainland's best-known advocates of market reform, warned yesterday that excess domestic money supply was creating an increasingly unsustainable asset bubble.

8 May 2015 - 9:46am

G20 ministers warn US fiscal cliff could cause global crisis

US worries Bank of Japan's Shirakawa. Photo: Reuters

Leading world economies are pressing the United States to act decisively to avert a rush of spending cuts and tax hikes, warning that the so-called fiscal cliff is the biggest short-term threat to global growth.

6 Nov 2012 - 6:20am

Crash diet needed for China's binge spending

Crash diet needed for China's binge spending

China's Communist Party has set in motion a generational leadership change, raising hopes for policy changes after the transition to revive the economy. Many people pin their hopes on another vast stimulus like the one of 2008. I doubt that would help. China's economic problems are structural and difficult to fix.

8 May 2015 - 9:46am 2 comments

Lawmakers need to get serious

Legislators have long complained that they do not always get the respect they deserve. When they take their duties seriously, they risk being accused of being hostile and unco-operative. But when they side with the government, they are denounced as a rubber stamp without exercising their monitoring role properly.

15 Oct 2012 - 1:53am

David Cameron warns followers to brace for more economic pain

British Prime Minister David Cameron.  Photo: AFP

British Prime Minister David Cameron warned voters to brace for "painful decisions" on the economy yesterday but offered little new to alter a grim growth outlook that has derailed his efforts to cut the budget deficit.

11 Oct 2012 - 3:41am

Bittersweet budget

In his last budget speech as financial secretary in the current administration, John Tsang Chun-wah reflected on the necessity for fiscal discipline. He attributed the sovereign debt crises in some advanced economies to their lax fiscal discipline, and was determined to ensure the structural integrity of public finances in Hong Kong and keep adequate fiscal reserves for future challenges.

14 Feb 2012 - 12:00am